All About Gibsonville
Gibsonville, known as the “City of Roses”, is a friendly, family-oriented community located in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, between Greensboro and Burlington and within close proximity to Elon University. Gibsonville offers a small town atmosphere to live, work, play, and raise a family while providing quick access to larger neighboring cities. The Town provides a variety of services.
The “Saturdays at Seven” Concert Series is scheduled to begin Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the Depot Stage on the Town Greens. On Saturday mornings (Spring, Summer and Fall) there is a local Green Market or ‘Farmer’s Market’ in the Town Commons at the center of town. Gibsonville has always been a hub for the surrounding area, inhabited early by German farmers and the fresh produce available here is top quality, the result of generations of Spiritual Stewardship. Local Melons and Strawberries, for example, are grown in rich sandy loam that has been lovingly cared for by farming families for several hundred years. Good stewardship of the soil is a large part of this legacy. Vendors of many kinds can set up at the town Market free of charge while Bands play music for you on the stage in the park. One such band is the Original Musicosophy band who has a Gibsonville resident as a founding member. Of course, other famous people hail from Gibsonville, too.
Other places of interest include the Burke Manor Inn, which hosts Jacques, a fine Restaurant and Grove Winery, nearby.
The following section is redacted from History of Town of Gibsonville North Carolina by Melvin O. Wyrick:
Gibsonville became known as the Town of Gibsonville on February 18, 1871. The name Gibsonville had already been applied to the community since the first Post Office bore that name on June 15, 1855.
Gibsonville was named in honor of Joseph Gibson, son of Andrew Gibson, who was an emigrant from Edinborough, Scotland. Andrew was in apprenticeship to a silversmith who migrated to America and Andrew came with him at 15 years old, against the wishes of his parents. Joseph requested that the community bear his name since he had no sons to carry on the Gibson name. Joseph’s father was born in the year 1750.
While at Esquire Freeland’s home, he met his daughter, Jane Freeland, fell in love with her, and they were married the latter part of 1776. Andrew Gibson, who was the father of eight children, five boys and three girls, was considered well to do in his day and time.
The Gibson family did extensive farming, and some gold mining, which was really the community’s earliest industry. One of the mines was located just south of the Gibsonville Cemetery on the west side of Springwood Road. Shafts, which had been dug fifty and sixty feet deep, now mostly filled, and mounds of earth and flint rock can still be seen on Gold Hill, the name it bore at that time. Another mine was located on the east side of Whitsett Avenue about where Bennett Sales Corporation building is situated. In 1823, Andrew Gibson died, and he and his wife are buried in the Gibsonville Cemetery. In the early 1840’s James and Moses Gibson, Sons of Andrew Gibson, and their families moved to Arkansas to live. Joseph Gibson remained in Gibsonville and was responsible for grading the road bed for the new railroad from Raleigh to Greensboro. The grading of road beds for the railroad was usually performed by the citizens in the communities through which it passed. The road bed was begun in 1851, the building of the depot in 1854, and the first train entered the Gibsonville station October 9, 1855. Joseph Gibson, who was born May 19, 1785, in Guilford County, and probably in the Gibsonville Community, died January 25, 1857, and he and his wife, Mary A. Gibson, are also buried in the Gibsonville Cemetery.
The incorporation of the town took place just six years after the close of the Civil War and during “Reconstruction Days.” The Town of Gibsonville, when first incorporated, constituted an area of one square mile.
The center of the town was the railroad depot. A benchmark, showing the elevation of the Town at 721 feet above sea level, is located very near the depot. Dr. Thomas Cummings, who lived in Gibsonville and owned quite a large tract of land, gave not only the right of way for the railroad through Gibsonville, but also donated two acres of land to the Railroad Company for a hitching lot. This two acre plot comprises all of the two existing grass plots in the Center of town including the streets surrounding them. These are the Town Greens where the Market Days and Saturday Concerts are held.
On Railroad Avenue. Joe Whitsett built a small wooden building for an engine and storage room for the new railroad. Later this building was converted into a store and post office. Barney Troxler was the Postmaster in this building. In 1887, this same building was used by the Minneola Manufacturing Company as a company store. This building was later converted into a residence and still stands at 200 E. Railroad Avenue. The oldest dwelling in town, still standing at 305 Alamance Street, is now owned by Mrs. Garland Steele.
One of the early meeting places was certainly around the town well, located alongside Piedmont Street, between the drug store and the depot. It was of course, the windlass and bucket type, but it was a source of fresh water for the few business establishments and a place where tired travelers could refresh themselves. There is no record when this well was dug or when it was abandoned.
According to information handed down from one generation to another, the embryo town apparently was a very rough place. There were three very popular saloons, all located in wooden buildings. It has been said that groups visiting saloons engaged in big fights and that it was not safe to be on the streets after dark, especially on Saturday nights.
Cone Mills: the Minneola Plant
Cone Mills once had a thriving textile plant here called the Minneola Plant. The plant has been renovated and now houses forward-thinking business such as Gibsonville Antiques. The following historical account comes from their website:
“Gibsonville is rich in history and spirit.
Families have lived here for generations. They raise their children here and love calling it their home. They are a community of hard working folks who love their country and are always willing to lend a hand. Children may move away, but they always seem return to the memories of their childhood here in Gibsonville. Torry Holt and Terrence Holt, two of NFL’s greats, once called Gibsonville home. And, they return each year to host the Holt Brothers Football Camp.
Gibsonville weaves its way into a person’s soul with love and compassion. Many times you hear teens bursting at the seams to shake a town off them when they head for college. That’s not so here. There is a safety here. But, it is not a false sense of security. Residents know that bad things happen to good people. The loss of jobs from the mills in the 80’s really took a toll on families financially proving they know only too well that hard times do come.
It’s what happens after the storms of life that makes Gibsonville great. Gibsonville supports their own. All the businesses you see downtown? They have survived through hard times because the locals have supported them despite economic hardships. We all eat at these restaurants here, first. We will shop for our wares here, first. Need a key made? We are going to the Gibsonville’s pawn and hardware shop before we travel to Lowe’s Home Improvement.
Neighbors look out for one another. I have even found myself calling a neighbor when I saw their newly licensed teen run a stop sign at a dangerous intersection. Even though I am a transplant to Gibsonville, after awhile, you just can’t seem to stop yourself from helping your neighbor, your community. Because you really care about the friends you make here, and they care about you.
Today, we at Gibsonville Antiques & Collectibles are proud to say we are adding a new page to Gibsonville’s history.
We are located in the original building of the textile mill known as the Mineola plant. Built in 1868 by Berry Davidson, this building holds the hopes and dreams and sweat and sorrows of many Gibsonville residents.
By 1880, the Cones had bought the mill, production was booming and the town was thriving. This mill was dedicated to denim and corduroy. Residents went straight to work here after graduating from Gibsonville School, and the Cones were a fantastic employer to have. Many of the homes around Gibsonville were built by the Cones specifically for their employees. Then, these homes were rented to the mill workers at a nominal fee.
The Cones even had on-site nurses to tend to any needs of their employees. It has been said there was a lady who worked at the mill that was dying of cancer. The Cones had a trailer placed outside this lady’s home, so that she could have a nurse tend to her day and night during her last days.
During those days too, typhoid and scarlet fever was passed from contaminated milk. To protect their employees, the Cone family invested in a dairy farm to ensure that families avoided these deadly diseases.
The Cones were phenomenal employers, thoughtful and caring. Their employees were grateful and proud.
By the 80’s, the textile industry started taking a huge hit in NC. But throughout it all, the Mineola mill workers were steading working and watching the news while mill after mill closed its doors. All praying that their mill would not be affected.
But, as all things of this world have a beginning, all things must end. The mill closed its doors after 100 years in 1988, at precisely 2:26pm. The reason we know the exact time is because of a clock in our basement. It was stopped when the doors of the mill were locked. This clock is glass encased and will never restart again.
But, now, here we are. In this beautiful old mill. With history seeping through every crack and cranny. Memories are savored. And, stories are to be told.
Antiques now rest here.”